On 1 January 2013, new provisions of the Swiss Civil Code dealing with adult and child protection took effect. This mainly involves art. 360 ss CC.
This legal amendment is specifically designed to promote the self-determination of a person capable of discernment, to allow him or her to choose a legal representative in the event he or she is no longer capable of discernment and therefore not able to take legally binding decisions, in the areas of administration and healthcare.
One major change, as regards the field of care, is the fact that relatives of the patient who has become incapable of discernment can represent and consent to care for him or her, without a court order, in order to strengthen family solidarity and to unburden the judicial authorities that are currently very often called-upon for these issues. The list and the hierarchical order of relatives are decreed by law.
As part of this legal amendment, what were known as "guardianship measures", providing assistance and representation of persons who are not able to act in their own interest, are now called "protective measures" and are subject to changes in terminology and operation (see Judicial Authority website (FR)).